Police training facility in Cary to open next week

Facility will be a training hub for police departments all across McHenry County

The McHenry County Regional Training Center, located at 655 Village Hall Drive, Cary, is set to officially open Nov. 8. Pictured on Oct. 30, 2023.

Police agencies in McHenry County will be able to train together at a new facility opening next week in Cary.

The 20,485-square-foot building, at 655 Village Hall Drive, was the old Cary Village Hall. A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held at the new training facility next week.

An indoor shooting range at the Cary Public Works facility is expected to open in the spring, McHenry County Sheriff Robb Tadelman said. It originally was expected to open this winter, but supply chain delays pushed it back, Tadelman said.

Renovations on the building were kept to the interior, since it’s important to preserve the historic exterior aspects of the building, Cary Village Administrator Erik Morimoto said.

“It’s another great example of the effective use of revitalization of an existing space but, more importantly, a great public partnership,” he said.

The McHenry County Regional Training Center will have three training areas: two classrooms and a tactical training room. One classroom will fit 100 students, and a second 40-person classroom will be in the lower level, which used to be the Village Board room.

The MAT room will be for defensive tactics and scenario-based training. Tactical training usually covers handcuffing and handling people resisting arrest or being violent.

The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office provided crisis intervention training at the new facility last week. The 40-hour class involves actors role-playing different crises so officers can identify what a person may be going through and act accordingly, Tadelman said.

Police departments including Cary, Algonquin, Lake in the Hills and McHenry are expected to participate in training at the new building. Other departments are in talks, and costs for each department to use the facility is in the works, Tadelman said.

“We’ve had a good number of agencies that are going to participate in this training facility,” he said.

Previously, police officers would have to commute to training centers in the south suburbs, which can be more than an hour commute, Tadelman said. There also are plans to offer training that officers can complete during their shifts, including overnight.

“So they don’t have to take a day off to sleep and to change their life cycle so that they can get these trainings,” he said.

The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office bought the building for $1 in 2022. The $9.3 million project has been a plan for the sheriff’s office for years, Tadelman said.

About $6.2 million will be paid for through federal coronavirus relief dollars, and the rest from the sheriff’s office’s discretionary funds, McHenry County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Eric Ellis said in February.

Tadelman said the training facility also will be a way for officers to easily address new mandates created under the state’s new SAFE-T Act.

“That’s one of things that this training facility is going to do is make sure that all the mandates for each officer are met not just at the level that the state has set, but we’re going to exceed those expectations,” he said.

Since multiple police departments typically respond to calls together, it’s important for officers to be on the same page and “not talking different languages,” Tadelman said.

“We’ll have top-notch, top-level, unified training so that when we support each other on calls, we’re able to come from the same training background,” he said.

The facility also allows the sheriff’s office to form a training committee. The purpose of the committee would be to find ways to update and change training based on the needs of the county.

“As opposed to getting generic training from the state that is almost like a big-box store, we really are addressing what the needs are from our community locally and handling it from there,” Tadelman said.

The sheriff’s office has further goals of expanding to create a police academy and a corrections academy. The expansion would depend on the availability of land that Cary could provide.